Overview

This tour package combines the best of Kruger National Park with the 8 day Flock to Marion Cruise.

Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s most famous and fabulous reserves. On this birding and wildlife safari we will explore the area’s superb road system in our quest to locate some of the most iconic birds and big game in Africa, including the legendary “Big 5” - Lion, African Elephant, Leopard, African Buffalo and Rhinoceros. Kruger provides an excellent opportunity to witness these spectacular beasts in their natural habitat, with some of them in large numbers and at very close quarters. In addition, the park’s rich bushveld habitat will provide us with amongst the most exciting and rewarding birding to be had anywhere in Africa. Of special note here are species requiring vast areas of wilderness, such as Common Ostrich, Kori Bustard, the incomparable Southern Ground Hornbill, Martial Eagle, Bateleur, up to five species of vulture and an incredible diversity of other raptors!

This 8 day voyage out of Cape Town will sail through the Indian Ocean towards The Prince Edward Islands group, comprising two small islands in the sub-antarctic Indian Ocean. The islands are a declared Special Nature Reserves under the South African Environmental Management and activities on the islands are restricted to research and conservation management.

The wildlife on Marion is particularly vulnerable to introduced species and has suffered terribly with introduced mice and cats. While cats are now believed to have been eradicated, mice are still a major problem. A portion of the fees paid for this trip will be donated to the Mouse Free Marion Project.

We expect to see a host of seabirds with highlights including Kerguelan, Blue and Grey Petrels; Grey-headed, Sooty, Light-mantled and Wandering Albatrosses; King, Gentoo, Macaroni and Southern Rockhopper Penguins; Fairy and Salvin’s Prions and Kerguelan Tern. Should we obtain permission to venture into the marine protected area around Marion, we should also find Crozet Shag and Black-faced Sheathbill. A number of marine mammals are also anticipated, with Southern Elephant and Subantarctic Fur Seals; Fin, Sperm, Humpback and Killer Whales, as well as Dusky Dolphin being amongst the most likely.

More than 40 bird tour leaders and guides will be onboard for the cruise, including many who are very good at their cetacean identification too. Peter Harrison MBE, author of Seabirds: An Identification Guide – considered the bible of seabird identification will also be onboard, during which time he will not only be guiding, but also release his new seabird identification guide.

The tour is dynamically priced, and will become more expensive over time.

Tour Facts Top Birds
Flock to Marion Cruise Good chances - Black-faced Sheathbill, Grey-headed, Hartlaub's and Kelp Gulls; Greater Crested, Sandwich and Kerguelen Terns; Brown Skua; King Penguin; Wilson's and Black-bellied Storm Petrels; Wandering, Sooty, Black-browed, Shy, Grey-headed and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatrosses; Southern Giant, Northern Giant, Great-winged, Soft-plumaged, Grey, White-chinned and Blue Petrels; Salvin's and Fairy Prions; Cory's, Sooty and Great Shearwaters; Common Diving Petrels; Cape Gannet; Cape Cormorant; Crozet Shag. Moderate chances - Sabine's Gull; Common and Antarctic Terns; Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers; Gentoo, Southern Rockhopper, Macaroni and African Penguins; Light-mantled and Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatrosses; European Storm Petrel; Cape, Kerguelen and White-headed Petrels; Antarctic Prion; Subantarctic Shearwater. Low chances - Lesser Crested and Arctic Terns; Long-tailed Jaeger; Grey-backed and White-bellied Storm Petrels; Southern Royal and Northern Royal Albatrosses; Leach's Storm Petrel; Southern Fulmar; Slender-billed Prion; Barau's, South Georgia Diving and Spectacled Petrels; Manx and Little Shearwaters; Crowned, Bank and White-breasted Cormorants. Very Low chances - White-faced Storm Petrel, Amsterdam and Tristan Albatrosses, Broad-billed Prion, Atlantic Petrel, Flesh-footed Shearwater. Land - Common Ostrich, Kori Bustard, Red-crested Korhaan, Southern Ground Hornbill, Bateleur, Martial, Crowned, African Hawk- and Tawny Eagles, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Lizard Buzzard, Lappet-faced, Cape, White-backed, Hooded & White-headed Vultures, chances for the elusive African Finfoot, White-crowned Lapwing, Swainson’s & Natal Spurfowls, Coqui Francolin, Bronze-winged Courser, Double-banded Sandgrouse, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Southern White-faced Owl, Pearl-spotted & African Barred Owlets, Southern Red-billed & Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills, Brown-headed Parrot, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Burchell’s & Cape Starlings, Magpie & Southern White-crowned Shrikes, Red-headed Weaver, White-throated Robin-Chat, Acacia Pied Barbet, Burchell’s Coucal, Chestnut-vented Warbler, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler, Violet-eared Waxbill, Burnt-necked Eremomela, African Pygmy & Giant Kingfishers, Black, Woolly-necked, Saddle-billed & Yellow-billed Storks, African Openbill.
Top Mammals
Cruise - Good chances - Subantarctic Fur and Southern Elephant Seals; Humpback Whale. Moderate chances - Antarctic Fur Seal; Sperm, Killer, Fin and Long-finned Pilot Whales; Dusky Dolphin. Low chances - Heaviside's, Short-beaked Common, Hourglass and Bottlenose Dolphins; Southern Right, Common Minke, Sei and Bryde's Whales. Very Low chances - Southern Right Whale Dolphin; Blue Whale. Land - The ‘Big 5’, Cheetah, African Wild Dog, Side-striped Jackal, Greater Kudu, Giraffe, Spotted Hyena, Nyala, Common and Central African Large-spotted Genets, Wild Cat, African Civet, Serval, Cape Porcupine, White-tailed Mongoose, Klipspringer, Thick-tailed Greater Galago, Honey Badger, Caracal.
Habitats Covered
Cruise - Pelagic Land - acacia savanna, bushveld, terminalia woodland, riverine forest, grasslands, rivers, wetlands
Expected Climate
Cruise - cold and windy, Land - subtropical with occasional rain, warm to very hot
Max Group Size
Land - 7 with 1 Rockjumper Leader / Flock - 2300+ with 40 leaders
Tour Pace & Walking
Cruise - easy Land - relaxed
Accommodation
comfortable ship, and comfortable guesthouses & lodges
Ease of Birding
mosty easy
Number of Species Expected
180+
Other Attractions
Remote and rarely visited island, Indian Ocean, vast, pristine wilderness
Photographic Opportunities
good to excellent
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

Doug McCulloch was a great leader. He is very sensitive to his clients' individual needs and is very adroit at finding birds and making sure everyone in the group has seen them to their satisfaction. His insight into environmental issues facing South Africa specifically and Africa in general added a lot to the tour.

Doug McCulloch was great and he worked extremely hard at finding lots of birds and wildlife for our group to enjoy. Doug is very knowledgeable regarding the flora of each type of habitat and has excellent birding skills.

On the whole, the tours were wonderful. Jan Pienaar is a skilled and professional guide, cautious, funny, flexible and persistent. I'd take a trip with him any time. The sites visited were both beautiful and productive.

Gareth Robbins is an excellent guide and did a fantastic job managing the group and our expectations. He has a wealth of knowledge and provided information on various topics, including the flora, fauna, culture and everything in between.

WHAT A TRIP,… WHAT AN ADVENTURE,… WHAT A TON OF MEMORIES! From our first contact with Rockjumper, to the conclusion at Nelspruit with the participants and the patient and skillful guidance of our capable leader DOUG,… we could not have put together a better international experience. Doug was the face of Rockjumper for us. The energetic, calm, focused, knowledgable, “proper Englishman” figurehead. Thank You Doug for your knowledge and skill about more than birds as we learned about South Africa and what makes it such a special place.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
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